You’ve done it all. You’ve been rigorous and consistent about nutrition and physical training and made progress, but you still can’t master your muscle gain goals. For some reason, your muscles just don’t want to get any bigger. Could it be your hormones?
Hormones? Most of us take our hormones for granted until they stop performing as they should. When they are in balance, our bodies thrive, but when they get out of whack, our health goes down the toilet. Hormones affect our entire body. They enable us to stay in shape and conduct our daily activities, but they are even more critical to people trying to gain muscle. So much emphasis has been placed on diet and exercise that this may come as a surprise. But if you are dedicating a lot of time and effort to your physique and not getting the desired results, your hormones may be working against you.
How Hormones Are Impacting Your Muscle Gain
Hormones probably weren’t your first go-to when you set out to gain muscle. So, let’s look at why you should bother considering hormones in your weight training plan.
Hormones are a vital part of your metabolism – you’ve probably already done enough research to know that your metabolism governs your energy, weight loss, and processes food intake. During and after a workout, hormones flood your body. The only muscles affected by these hormones are the ones that are stimulated during the exercise. They either use energy (anabolic hormones) or release energy (catabolic hormones).
If you want to grow muscles, you need a higher amount of anabolic hormones than catabolic ones. Anabolic hormones enable your muscles to grow via the anabolic process. This process consists of simple molecules combining into larger, more complex ones. Anabolic hormones include:
- Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs)
- Growth hormone (GH)
On the other hand, catabolic hormones, such as cortisol, break down molecules, and release energy. Catabolism inhibits muscle growth. When you have a higher amount of catabolic hormones than anabolic ones, you will begin to lose muscle mass.
When you want to gain muscle, it’s crucial that you understand which hormones are on your team and which are playing against you.
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone primarily produced by the testicles in men and by the ovaries in women. By nature, men have more testosterone than women, but both genders require it to thrive. Testosterone is a key factor in the muscle gain equation. Testosterone regulates strength, muscle mass, fat distribution, bone mass, and libido. It increases neurotransmitters in your nervous system, which enhances your muscle size.
The bad news is that testosterone levels decline with age. The good news is that testosterone levels can be easily increased with hormone optimization.
Growth Hormone (GH)
Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone that plays a role in developing healthy muscle, eliminating body fat, body strength, and brain function. Exercise, particularly exercise that uses compound movements, releases growth hormone. The more of the muscle fiber you use, the more GH will be released. GH production is also released during REM cycles of sleep, during which it repairs damaged muscle cells.
Like testosterone, GH production naturally declines with age and can be supported by hormone optimization.
You probably know about insulin in relation to diet, blood sugar, and diabetes. But there’s more to insulin than meets the eye. Insulin stimulates the cellular pathway in your muscle that regulates the muscle’s growth. It also increases blood flow to your muscles so that more nutrients and hormones can get into the muscles and provide the building blocks for growth. An insulin deficiency can lead to a protein loss of muscle mass that can only be reversed by insulin optimization.
Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGFs)
IGF is produced in the liver in response to the growth hormones, so if GH levels rise, so do IGFs. IGFs stimulate muscle growth as well as increase lean body mass, help burn fat, increase physical endurance, and accelerate recovery time.
IGF levels peak during puberty and gradually decrease with age, but they can be increased by taking peptides like MK-677, which have been shown to increase IGF’s and build lean muscle mass.
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, that breaks down molecules, so why do we include it as a player in muscle gain? Because it is playing for the other team- and to win, you need to understand who you’re playing against.
Cortisol inhibits protein synthesis. This makes it harder for your body to build muscle. It can also accelerate the breakdown of proteins into amino acids and sugar, which makes your body use your muscles as an energy source.
Cortisol is triggered by physical and emotional stress, but it’s also stimulated by lengthy cardio sessions and exercises that cause GH to release, like using heaving weights.
To combat high cortisol levels:
- Take regular breaks from intense training
- Listen to your body
- Schedule intense sessions later in the day
- Eat right
- Consume carbohydrates and protein after exercise
Ready to Master Your Muscle Gain Goals?
Are you convinced yet that hormones are impacting your muscle gain? It’s not hard to see why you have hit a wall when you’re trying to gain more muscle mass. But that wall doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your goals.
The best thing you can do if you’ve struggled over and over with muscle gain is to find a better medical solution to identify the factors that are slowing you down. We’ve done the research and put together protocols that will effectively support you in reaching your goals. We’ve got the process perfected!
Our methods are medically based, but you don’t have to hassle with doctor’s visits and trips to the pharmacy. All you have to do is send us your labs, show up for a virtual consultation, and we’ll take care of the rest. Your customized therapies will be shipped right to your door, saving you trips to the pharmacy while boosting your performance! Contact us for a consultation today!